Triglyceride/cholesterol levels - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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Triglyceride/cholesterol levels

Blowblow_ profile image

Hi, not sure if in right ‘community’ seems most relevant.

Just looking for some advice/guidance. Had some blood tests last week, recently turned 40 so thought it would be sensible and have been feeling a bit under the weather.

GP called firstly to advise all the tests were normal and no problems. Next day another GP called to give me the ‘real’ results…. :/

Vit D slightly low.

Triglycerides at 8.3! (I’m told these should be lower than 2.3!)

Cholesterol 7.3 (didn’t break this down but I’m assuming it’s the bad kind)

GP told me I’m at risk of pancreatitis and that if I get any stomach pain I should head straight to A&E! (I have no stomach pain whatsoever)

So, I have put on weight over lockdown, who hasn’t, I don’t think I’m obese but am definitely overweight. I do have a very sedentary lifestyle and I live on carbs, I also drink a fair bit, GP has told me to cut down, I also don’t exercise.

I suppose this is a wake up call. My question really is what sort of diet would people recommend. I’ve been vegetarian (well pescatarian) for 27 years, but I’ve grabbed the comfort, fast foods especially over the past 18 months.

This past week I’ve upped my fish intake, have changed to whole grain rice, wholewheat pasta and cutting down my portion sizes, eating more veg and fruit, adding in nuts as snacks, cut out white bread, cutting out crisps, trying to cut down alcohol but this is probably my toughest thing. I haven’t started exercise yet, as I’ve also been unwell with a heavy cold but plan on doing so as soon as better.

There is a family history of heart attacks, and my brother also has a condition called FH, I was tested when he was diagnosed but my cholesterol was more normal then so I’m assuming I don’t have this and that my horrible results are as a result of almost 2 years of bad diet and lack of exercise and hoping I can turn this around.

GP was going to refer me to lipid clinic but instead has agreed to giving me 6 weeks to turn things around a little, get a further blood test and then take it from there.

Anyone been in this position and any advice, words of wisdom to share with me? Would be most grateful :)

25 Replies

Hi. Welcome to the forum.

Your Triglyceride levels are too high. Mine were 4.9 for few years and I ended up in A&E with a mild HA. Have they prescribed you any medication to lower your cholesterol levels?

Lifestyle changes also reduce cholesterol levels to great extent.

Wish you all the best

Blowblow_ profile image
Blowblow_ in reply to Hearty21

Hiya, thankyou.

No, nothing prescribed yet, he is giving me 6 weeks to try and get things back on track and further blood test before referring to lipid clinic. I think unless I can reduce things drastically by then they’ll be prescribing something then.

It was a bit scary when he told me what the level was and what they should be!

Hello Blowblow

Welcome to the forum, can’t really help you with your numbers how’s your blood pressure? Here on the forum lots of us follow a Mediterranean diet recommended by BHF. If you look at their website you will find lots of help from what you say you have started to change your diet really well.

Exercise is a given, if your not use to it start by gentle walking building up, making sure you do it regularly.

The only other thing I would say is cutting your alcohol down is a must and if you smoke stop these will help you straight away.

You are very young and getting your health sorted is a priority, I am in my 70s and 5 years ago had open heart surgery to replace my Aortic valve and I had a bypass. I was 68 never had any health issues only been in hospital to have my children so being told my heart was letting me down came as a complete shock.

I wish you lots of luck if we can help you with anything just post you are certainly trying to get yourself on the right track.

Best wishes Pauline

Blowblow_ profile image
Blowblow_ in reply to 080311

Hi, thankyou for your reply, I will look into the med diet, sounds like something I would enjoy :) impressed myself by going for a walk this morning, only a short one but it’s a start!

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and I hope you are in good health now yourself :)

Triglycerides is a measure of your sugar intake, this includes all carbs, both simple and complex. Whether your high value is down to food, alcohol or a bit of both I couldn't say. If you can cut your carb intake your trigs will plummet.

Wholewheat might be better than white, but it's like saying rolling your own is better than cigarettes, they are generally still unhealthy choices. Grains (wheat, barley, rice, corn, oats) will all raise trigs as they are high carb foods. Another rich carb source is potatoes.

Increase your veg intake as a substitute for reducing the things above. I'm not going to tell you to give up alcohol, but wine and spirits are better choices than beer and cocktails. Avoid fruit juices, and actually prefer vegetables and berries over sweet tropical fruits.

Hope that helps a bit. IMHO the trig figure is the most important one in a lipids panel, although others will tell you it is LDL. Get the trigs down and your outlook will improve significantly.

Blowblow_ profile image
Blowblow_ in reply to Supafil

Hi, thanks for your reply, I do believe it’s probably food and lack of exercise but I’m trying to reduce everything and going to become more active. I have always just driven even to the local shops just 10 mins away, which is just lazy isn’t it! Lol

I’m definitely eating more veg, I love veg, not really so keen on fruit but am trying with them too.

I’ll take on board your advice re the whole grains and wholewheat too, I’ve not had much since I’ve started my ‘healthier’ diet, just some brown rice the other day, I’m mainly having fish and loads of veg so I’m hoping that will help.

I’m cutting down the booze but still having the odd G& T so good to know spirits are slightly better 😉

Thanks very much for your helpful advice. :)

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star

Hello,

Another good source of information as well as the BHF website is Heart UK.

heartuk.org.uk/

My triglycerides levels were a lot higher than yours, I drank alcohol, but not excessively. After seeing a lipid specialist, I had a blood test, then a further blood test after 3 weeks , in this period I had no alcohol at all.The results were unbelievable down to 0.7 from 13, some people including myself are susceptible to alcohol, even small amounts, which directly increases triglycerides.

Unfortunately the damage was done for me , but try missing alcohol for a few week and have blood tests before and after, it could be your answer.

Also I never drink sugary drinks, add sugar to anything , and I have always drank plenty of water.

Also forgot to mention my cholesterol levels reduced from 9 to 4.5

Great to see how you managed to get your results back on track, thats really positive for me to read and aim for, hope you’re doing well now.

I agree with all those on here who say that reducing carbs is key. That is something which is very underplayed by official organisations. Cholesterol is a very complex subject and I must have spent many tens of hours learning about it on Youtube. A warning about Youtube. There are some cranks on there, but if people on there give you references to scientific papers and you check on them and they are correct, you can be pretty sure that Youtuber is not a crank. I'm not going to suggest you spend that long learning about cholesterol, but the more you know, the better informed you will be about making choices and you might end up knowing more than your doctor which is no bad thing. I changed my diet gradually firstly giving up cakes and biscuits (apart from the odd treat), then cut out potatoes, then a lot of the bread that I eat. I haven't given up alcohol, but with these changes, I have lost weight and improved my Tryglicerides. However, after coming off a statin, my overall cholesterol has gone up again, so I have restarted 20mg Atorvastatin. I think you will probably be put on a statin, but again the subject of statins is not as simple as it might first seem because there are different types. There are a lot of positives and negatives which are too complex to explain in a post, but the best thing you can do is to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible on the subject. It might be boring, but it's an investment in your own health.

Blowblow_ profile image
Blowblow_ in reply to Wingnutty

Hiya, this is how I have started, cutting out cakes, choc, although not much of a sweet tooth really. Crisps, Doritos, bread are probably my biggest weakness but I’ve cut them out now. Hopefully I’ll lose a bit of weight, would be good to be able to fit into some of my clothes again! Lol

I don’t really want to give up alcohol completely and would like to see how I get on improving my diet and upping my activity levels and see what’s what then.

My mother (and brother) take statins so I’ve researched them quite a bit in the past, I hope I won’t need any but I suppose we’ll see….

Hi. Was your blood taken when fasting i.e. water only for between 12 and 14 hours before? Some people need to fast to get a proper baseline. The good news is that you can do something about it. Even walking regularly can help lower your cholesterol. Good luck with the lifestyle changes. Let us know how you get on.

Blowblow_ profile image
Blowblow_ in reply to Jacey15

Thanks so much for your reply and the words of encouragement :)

My test was intended to be a fasting one but I don’t think I fasted for long enough as I was eating junk and drinking till after midnight and then had the test at 8am, my own stupid fault, but definitely a lesson learnt and wake up call.

Have started walking today and hoping to build this up to a daily thing.

Thanks you again, take care.

I also should have mentioned that I used to love eating cheese and crackers at night time and I ate far too much, but I realised there is a lot of carbohydrate in crackers and cut them out completely. Now I sometimes have some cheese at night, but nowhere near the amount I used to eat. I get fed up after a few small pieces, but if I were to eat it with crackers, I know I would eat 4 times more. Make sure the crackers go for carb reduction.

You sound like me! Cheese is another of my weaknesses lol my brother told me I should cut it out completely but I think I should be allowed a few sins or what’s the point! I’m trying to be a little stricter now for the next few weeks before Christmas and get my follow up bloods done before Xmas.

Just a few tips - watch out for the nuts. Yes, they are healthy but you can do yourself a lot of damage calorie-wise eating too many of them. I limit myself to 10 a day.

You might find it helpful to sign up for one of those sites where you can make a record of everything to eat so you can limit yourself to a certain number of calories. It's a very effective tool to lose weight. You can also record your exercise to see how much it's helping.

Vitamin D - go outside and get some sun! I live in the Sunshine State and I don't get enough sun!

lol, G&Ts were my drink of choice but I really did give it up (for kidney reasons).

Eating bread is not the greatest thing you can do for your triglyceride levels. However, if you are really jonesing for some bread, make it sourdough. It's glycemic level is lower than regular white bread.

Wish I lived in sunshine state, I’m in the cold and grim UK lol I get addicted to bread so it’s best I cut it out completely! Thanks for your reply and advice, much appreciated :)

Be careful about cutting some things out. Cheese is a good source of calcium, orange juice is a good source of vitamin C.

I could never cut cheese out completely, it’s my favourite thing lol and I tend to just have one glass of OJ a day and have a vit and mineral tablet now plus a berocca.

You could also check out two other forums on here: Healthy Eating and C25K (for a fantastic & FUN way to kick start your exercise). 🏃‍♀️ Good luck! 👍

Blowblow_ profile image
Blowblow_ in reply to Simes11

Thankyou, will do :)

My cholesterol is 7.9 which is very scary I had open heart surgery five months ago so I've got lots of pills for that as well. However the best advice I think is oats for the cholesterol. You could have porridge and/or oatcakes .....its a start .... trying to do some research myself these things but can't post much more at the moment. Good luck

Don’t think I’ve tried oatcakes, might give them a go, thankyou. Hope you’re on the mend following your surgery, take care and thankyou for you advice, it’s much appreciated.

080311 profile image
080311 in reply to Blowblow_

Love oatcakes give them a go.

Pauline

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